One of the top resolutions each year is learning a foreign language. Unfortunately, most people quickly become overwhelmed and give up. My father has wanted to learn another language for at least 20 years, but he’s convinced himself that he doesn’t have a brain for languages. I do not believe this at all. I truly believe anyone can learn a new language. You just have to find the program(s) and process(es) that work for you!
When I was about 30 years old, I had a career, two children, and a husband. At that time, my interest in my ancestry flared again, and I began studying Italian. I started by turning to the mainstream services, but in this blog I tell you how I found success learning a second language.
During middle school, high school and some college, I had to take Spanish classes, but the classroom format never really worked for me. And after finishing school, I never returned to learning Spanish, but that formal language education gave me the building blocks to understand how the romance languages work. This gave me a leg up on my father, who never had formal language education and wasn’t taught about conjugations and sentence formats.
I am a travel affiliate and am dedicated to helping others achieve their travel dreams while I pursue my own. In order to do this, I place sponsored links in my posts. If you click some links in this post and make a purchase, I will hopefully earn a little dough.
Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. At times, you’ll miss lessons or lose motivation, but persist! The more you vary how you study, the easy it will be to continue. Below is exactly how I learned Italian, but every method can be applied to the language you want to learn.
I am a travel affiliate and am dedicated to helping others achieve their travel dreams, while I pursue my own. In order to do this, I place sponsored links in my posts. If you click some links in this post and make a purchase, I will hopefully earn a little dough at no extra cost to you.
Online and Digital Programs
I began with the most recognizable language learning program out there, Rosetta Stone. I had great success using the Rosetta Stone online and mobile course. It uses repetition and visuals immersed in the language – No English. Your brain notices patterns and is able to understand how the new language is working. My previous formal language education aided me in understanding and noticing the conjugations, while my father was not able to pick up on this easily.
If you do not have formal language learning, I suggest watching some additional YouTube videos explaining your language’s verb conjugations before starting Rosetta Stone and during your program.
To be more successful with Rosetta Stone, it is important to take advantage of its other learning resources. It offers reading practice, listening practice, audio companions, and online tutoring. For only $219 you can learn a new language. As the saying goes, you get out of it what you put into it. This is very true with language learning. I recommend spending 30 minutes a day or every other day on Rosetta Stone.
This link to Rosetta Stone includes lifetime access to its online system and a book set!
In addition to Rosetta Stone, I found the app, Duolingo, very helpful. Duolingois an easy to use, mobile app, but unlike Rosetta Stone, it is not immersive. You may find this type of program helpful to understand exactly what the sentences and words mean. The app focuses on having you translate sentences and words back and forth between the languages. I found Duolingo especially helpful in increasing my vocabulary. Rosetta stone does not introduce a lot of new vocabulary. With you pair these two together, you will be able to expand your use quickly by pairing what you learned in each together. I recommend spending 10 minutes a day or completing three lessons a day on Duolingo.
If you’re traveling soon and want immediately useful language learning, I recommend Pimsleur. When I went to Italy, I used what I learned in Pimsleur more often than the other programs, because Pimsleur gives you phrases useful for traveling. Pimsleur is an audio program and is great to listen to while driving, walking or cleaning. I made the habit of listening to one on my way to work everyday. They are only about 20 minutes long, and you should only do one a day.
Here’s the first set of lessons for Pimsleur’s Italian 1
Sometimes you need an offline study session, and I have found a few great products to help make your studies stick! First, add a set of flashcards. You can make sure own or use preprinted ones like these: Italian Vocabulary SparkNotes Study Cards
Furthermore, add a workbook: Italian Now! Level 1: L’italiano d’oggi! (Barron’s Foreign Language Guides)
My last piece of advice is to find an online, native speaker as a tutor. I was intimidated and anxious to work with a tutor. I doubted my abilities. I doubted what I had learned, but in the end, I knew it was the right decision, so I placed an ad on Upwork and found an amazing lady. The first lesson was nervous and awkward on my part, but I did it, and I learned from it. Nothing will replace the experience of conversing with a native speaker who is patient and ready to teach you. On top of that, it’s another person to help hold you accountable. You may be pleasantly surprised how reasonable online tutoring is. My tutor charges only $25/hour, and we started out with 30 minute lessons. You can’t beat that!
I’d love to tell you that I just buckled down and used all of these resource everyday, but that’s just not true. I am human and sometimes life gets in the way. I started and stopped my studies repeatedly over the years. And I want you to know that it’s okay to do that. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Fit in what you can when you can. If you miss a day or a week, forgive yourself and pick it back up. This is why I’ve made it as far as I have.
What language do you want to learn? Start today!